In an interview with state media, Ukraine’s outgoing Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov disclosed that the country is spending around $100 million daily in the conflict against Russia.
During his first interview since being removed from office on Sunday, the former defense minister engaged in an extensive conversation with state-owned Ukrinform. In the interview, Reznikov sought to refute any insinuations of his connection to the growing corruption allegations associated with the war effort.
When questioned about the distribution of funds contributed by the public to the military following Russia’s invasion, Reznikov explained that these donations have been relatively limited in contrast to foreign aid and taxation. He asserted that merely 3% of the war expenses have been covered by public contributions.
In what might be considered the most transparent insight into resource allocation since the onset of the war, the former defense minister revealed that the state is currently expending approximately $100 million daily on the conflict.
He said, “A day of war costs us $100 million. The army today is the largest consumer of funds. But funds are also needed for the maintenance of the country as a whole, for infrastructure, for reconstruction, for supporting the socially vulnerable.”
Reznikov acknowledged that the Ukrainian workforce plays a vital role in sustaining the military budget. He attributed this support to citizens who diligently pay their taxes, explaining that these tax revenues contribute to the budget, which in turn funds the military.
Nevertheless, he refrained from disclosing the specific breakdown of the daily $100 million expenditure on the war, distinguishing between contributions from the Ukrainian public and subsidies from taxpayers in the United States and Europe.
The interview followed President Volodymyr Zelensky’s decision to remove Reznikov. Reznikov had been in charge of the country’s war efforts for more than 550 days prior to his dismissal.
While there were no direct allegations of personal corruption against the minister, some observers perceive his ousting as an endeavor to eradicate corruption and war-related profiteering.
The Defense Ministry has been shaken by a string of corruption controversies since the beginning of the year. These include accusations of excessive spending on military provisions like eggs and winter jackets.
What are the latest corruption accusations against the Ministry of Defense that led to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s decision to dismiss Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov?
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) September 4, 2023
Additionally, last month saw the dismissal of all regional recruitment office leaders across Ukraine amid allegations of bribery involving individuals seeking to evade deployment.
The spotlight on corruption in Ukraine, a country that has persistently ranked among the world’s most corrupt nations since gaining independence from the Soviet Union, could potentially raise concerns about the wisdom of channeling billions more from Western taxpayers into the ongoing proxy war.
In addition to the $113 billion pledged by the Biden administration to Ukraine since the previous year, the White House is actively advocating for an extra $24 billion in aid.